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Interpretation Response #03-0207 ([Nexergy, Inc] [Mr. Philip J. Glandon])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Nexergy, Inc

Individual Name: Mr. Philip J. Glandon

Location State: OH Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Jun 21, 2004


Mr. Philip J. Glandon                 Reference No. 03-0207
Nexergy, Inc
1909 Arlingate Lane
Columbus, OH 43228

Dear Mr. Glandon:

This is in response to your two letters, 1)0th dated August 11, 2003, concerning requirements under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) for design-type testing of lithium ion batteries. The specific requirements you address are contained in Section of the United Nations Manual of Tests and Criteria and are implemented through the provisions of 49 CFR 173.185. Your scenarios are paraphrased and answered below:

Scenario 1:       Nexergy is a battery pack assembler. Nexergy assembles a lithium ion battery pack (Model No, 123) using nine 2.0 ampere-hour cells manufactured by ABC Company. The cells have passed the testing requirements under the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria. The Nexergy battery pack is tested and passes the UN tests. Nexergy now wants to assemble the same model battery pack using “substantially equivalent” cells from another cell manufacturer, XYZ Corporation, which also have passed the UN tests. Is this a new design type which must be retested or may Nexergy use the test results from its original tests to satisfy the requirements for this battery pack?

Answer 1:         If the cells from XYZ Corporation are “substantially equivalent” to the cells from ABC Company and the design of the battery pack remains unchanged, the battery pack is not considered a new design type and need not be retested. If the cells or battery pack are changed in any way that could affect test results for the battery pack, then it is a new design type and needs to be retested.
A cell or battery is deemed to be “a new design type” if the change in mass to the cathode, anode or electrolyte is more than 0.1 grams or 20%, whichever is greater, or the change would materially affect the test results.

Scenario 2:       Nexergy assembles a lithium ion battery pack using specifications (circuitry, safety features, etc.) for the battery pack design provided by the customer. The Nexergy battery pack is tested and passes the UN tests. The customer then contracts with Smith Battery Company (Smith) to produce the same battery pack design using the same specifications and cells. May Smith rely on Nexergy’s test results to determine that a battery pack manufactured by a different company also passes the United Nations Manual of Tests and Criteria or must the battery pack be retested?

Answer 2:         If a lithium ion battery and cell is not “substantially equivalent” from the tested design, the lithium ion battery and cell must be tested. However, if it can be established that a new lithium ion battery and cells are “substantially equivalent” to the tested design type, retesting is not required. Therefore, a battery design that contains cells that are “substantially equivalent” to cells in the tested design type, though from a different manufacturer, it is not required to be retested.

Since Smith Battery Company is a different company than Nexergy, the company that originally tested the battery pack design under the United Nations Manual of Tests and Criteria, Smith Battery Company may not use the test results representing the original company (Nexergy) unless specific permission and arrangements, such as a written agreement, exist between the two companies, and Nexergy is willing to certify that the battery pack design manufactured by Smith Battery Company passes the UN tests.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if you require additional assistance



Edward T. Mazzullo
Director, Office of Hazardous
Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries